Hostaway makes life easier for Airbnb hosts
A small Finnish startup has developed technology for the holiday rental industry that prevents booking clashes when utilising multiple booking platforms.
If you start looking you never know what you might find. Marcus Räder was researching the holiday rental industry one day when he came across an important discovery.
“I interviewed almost 30 companies that managed Airbnb apartments for a living and they had a big problem: managing their sales channels,” he says.
Airbnb is one of several online marketplaces which allow people to rent their homes to travellers. This industry is rapidly expanding, but the popularity causes problems. If a host lists a home on multiple websites it is a chore to keep track of them all and avoid double bookings.
“In the beginning I was sceptical, because airlines and hotels had solved this issue already in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” Räder continues. “After testing 40 solutions I agreed with my interviewees: there was no software for managing sales channels that worked. That’s why I decided to start Hostaway.”
More sales channels = more bookings
The Finnish startup Hostaway connects multiple platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Flipkey, Expedia and HomeAway. Through them a host can rent their homes more efficiently and profitably.
“Our service takes a few seconds to set up, and allows a current Airbnb host to sign up and manage multiple sales channels,” Räder says. “There are many benefits to this. You get more bookings. Airbnb is not the only channel out there. You get diversification, so you aren’t relying on just one company. You also get ease of use.”
Imagine the hassle it would be to continually monitor multiple channels. If you rent your place through one service, you would need to immediately go to the others to say it is no longer available. If you are too slow you risk annoying customers who tried to rent your home which was listed as available.
“It takes a lot of effort to sign up on various channels and keep rates and availability updated,” Räder continues. “We have automated this so the user just has to sign up and choose the desired channels. We automatically create an account, upload the property and synchronise the calendars by the click of a button.”
Sharing economy brings change
The big rental services have taken note of Hostaway and understand the Finns can help their businesses. Expedia even awarded the company for their innovation.
“Many of the bigger companies have tens of thousands of employees, rely on old computer architecture and their processes need to adapt to the realities of the sharing economy,” Räder explains. “It takes time, but the industry is changing. We are working closely with our partners to ensure their business requirements are met and our hosts get more bookings.”
Currently Hostaway is focusing on markets which have an oversupply of short-term rental units where hosts struggle to get bookings. Western and Southern Europe are big markets, while Asia is growing rapidly. North America is also open to new technology.
The company is now in the midst of a massive update based on user feedback and couldn’t be happier how Hostaway has developed.
Text: David J. Cord
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